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Essay/Term paper: The glass menagerie: struggle to fit into society

Essay, term paper, research paper:  The Glass Menagerie

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The Glass Menagerie: Struggle to Fit Into Society

Rich Spadaccini Fifth Period March 31, 1996

"The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams shows the struggle of two
people to fit into society, Tom and Laura, and how society wouldn't accept them.
They were the dreamers that were unjustly kept out and you may even go as far as
to say persecuted into staying out and aloof like the other dreamers which are
forced to become outcasts and not contribute to the actions of all.
Tom and Laura, the two dreamers, were pushed by their mom, Amanda, to her
frame of mind and the thoughts of a hard working society. They both stumbled on
the fire escape which served as a gateway, physically and mentally. Tom had the
problem of fitting in at the warehouse were he worked, because is the warehouse
really a place for someone like him and his mind rebelled. Lastly you can see
how society forced them to change and Laura to lose her status in order to fit
in with Jim and that's shown by the horn breaking. Tom then realizes that and
leaves which causes him to change too. Tennessee Williams artfully depicted this.

The fire escape. A downtrodden red thing off the sides of buildings showing
societies ineffectual escape from itself. In this case it served as a passageway
between the real world and the dream one that Laura and Tom were living in at
home. Both somehow stumbled both physically and mentally. When Laura said "I'm
all right. I slipped but I'm all right"(47). She was trying to pass to the real
world to do a real job and couldn't because of societies "inability" to accept
her and her ways. She wasn't strong enough to make the trip by herself, but
needed the moral support of the other dreamer in the area, which was Tom who
came running out. Tom is the one who stumbles mentally in his inability to look
at the escape, which would be his way out of the place. He was always losing his
strength while out there smoking and looking out into the world. Recognizing the
sounds and trying to connect but unable to. He was forced away and unable to
bring up the strength inside himself to go out and leave and to stay strong as a
dreamer. Forced by society to use it as a gateway instead of just keeping it the
same and just a mode of transportation to go down.
Every night you hear Tom say, "I'm going to the movies" (42). He uses that
as an escape of the imagination which is what made him a dreamer. As long as he
went to the movies and stayed away from seeing and experiencing he could still
dream. He wants to see them in person and adventure out but that would be what
society wants him to do. Tom is probably content or made to seem content with
the movies and sees his impending doom in being a dreamer so he becomes obsessed
with trying to escape it. With "Yes, Movies! Look..... I'm tired of movies and
I'm about to move"(79). Tom tells Jim of his plans to leave and see what he
needs to, but Jim cannot realize the scope of the problem.
In the warehouse, for Tom and the school for Laura were the places in which
dreamers do not fit in. Everyone is thinking of advancing themselves and the "
American Dream" in the same breath. Tom was in the warehouse and it wasn't a
place for him. He attempted to rein in his wishes but was unable to do it. He
still had to sneak off and write poems to show his thoughts. "He knew of .... on
poems"(68), Was what Tom was saying towards Jim. Jim was one who didn't care of
what others did but just wanted to become one of the people who could fulfill
the "American dream". Laura, like tom snuck off to hiding places to dream and
remember what it was like. Instead of going to the business school she snuck off
to the menagerie and the museum, both places where dreaming is recommended, the
only sanctuary for them in society. She, like Tom was living in a dream but was
unable to be as focused as he was so she "Went to the art museum.....the
tropical flowers"(33), showing she had to back up her strength by skipping a
killer of dreamers for one that strengthens her resolve but it is shown to be
not enough and changes.
When Jim broke the horn on the unicorn showed the change of Laura from
being the unicorn to a normal horse who can fit in. Since Tom was so close he
felt the break and the fact that another dreamer had been changed by the rules
of society and could not stand away any more. Jim had brought Laura over to his
way of thinking and that of the American society. In "Make him feel less---
freakish!, Now he will feel more at home with the other horses, the ones that
don't have horns..."(104). Laura was that horse and felt freakish in her actions
and wanted to fit in with the other horses. That's the meaning of that speech.
she was broken to the American dream and then Tom felt that his ground was being
invaded and got defensive. He soon left upon realizing that he was changing to
Amanda's way of thinking, so he left. upon his leaving he lost his dreaming
ability anyway. It was ironic how he no longer dreamed because he felt he was
seeing the dreams in real life, as society had again forced him out.
As you can see Tom and Laura were dreamers which were unaccepted into
society. Laura lost her dreaming when the unicorn lost it's horn and tom then
lost his upon doing the first thing he had dreamed about because he stayed that
way and didn't dream about going any higher. Ultimately Tennessee Wiliiams
message was that society was rigid and it forced those which did not fit the
mold to change into a from which was acceptable. That we killed the dreamers and
are till doing it at an even younger age. We have to Accept them with open arms
if ever we are able to make it far into the future and survive.


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